One of the simplest ways to monetize your website or blog is through the use of what is called CPC advertsing. In this primer we cover some of the benefits and challenges  using this method. We also provide some additional tips on content curation, where to place your ads, the top ad networks, plugins and tips, in addition to some additional links for further learning.

Let’s start with a definition of what exactly PPC/CPC advertising is:

Pay per click (PPC) (also called cost per click) is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when the ad is clicked. It is defined simply as “the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked.” (Wikipedia, n.d.)

These ads are typically served through ad networks such as Google Adsense, Chitika or even a commenting service like Disqus.


The links below allow you to jump to specific parts of this primer.


Setting up CPC ads for your site is typically very easy. With Google Adsense for instance all you have to do is select the size of your ad and install a small bit of code where you want it to display. With modern blogs and plugins this setup can be done with little technical knowledge. You’ll also see some recommended plugins down below.

Highly Relevant Ads

Another possible benefit with some networks especially Adsense is the ads the users will see on your site will be re-targeted ads. Typically these ads are something your visitor has search for or is currently seeking. Adsense does a pretty good job of ensuring that the content on your site and the ads the user sees is within the realm of relevant content. Other networks that offer CPC advertising work pretty much the same way as Adsense.

Payment Guarantee

Another benefit with most networks (especially the ones listed below) is that your payment for income you make is pretty much guaranteed. That means you don’t have to worry about getting paid like other forms of monetization. For instance, with affiliate marketing if you’re outside of a major network like ClickBank, JvZoo, or Amazon you still have to rely on the seller to pay on sales you make.

Set and Forget

While you should also be testing what monetizes best CPC advertising is one technique that you can at times set and forget. Once  you’ve fully optimized your ad placements there isn’t much more management for you to do. Either add more content or start to curate content.

Optimized Yield and Advertising

CPC advertising has really matured the last few years. With that maturity comes a few benefits for you the publisher. Typically this means the ads displayed are optimized for maximum revenue, the advertising is relevant to your site and users (you can block certain ads or sites), stable and fast ad serving, almost real time tracking of income and 100% ad placement fill. Quite a big list there but those all of those things matter when weighing how to monetize your site or blog.


There are 5 main challenges to CPC advertising and we’ll cover each one in detail. The five challenges are large traffic requirement, not a long term asset, and very little control over ads, ad blindness, and ad blockers.

Requires Large traffic

Unless you generate over 1500 visitors a day the income you will see from CPC advertising will typically be small compared to other monetization methods.

For instance, if you sold an digital book (ebook) this might be priced typically between $9-$97. While some single clicks for some markets might net you 3-4 a click these type of clicks are few and far between. Most are under a dollar and aren’t substantial until you reach higher numbers.

Not a long term Asset

With advertising as a monetization strategy you are not building any long term asset or business. The income you make is only as good as the traffic you consistently generate. Contrast that with building a solid permission marketing list. You can at a moment’s notice communicate with your list. With advertising you’re still reliant on traffic and other market forces well beyond your control.

Very Little Control Over Ads

With most networks you do get some control over the ads that display on your site. The problem becomes that often times these networks display the highest and most relevant ads but those might be the ones you don’t want displayed. Maybe a competitor is advertising on your site, but if you deny ads from that advertiser those might be the highest paying ads.

Ad Blindness

This is a challenge even if you don’t implement CPC advertising. Ad Blindness or Banner blindness is when a visitor to a website doesn’t see the ads. Some ad blindness might be conscious and some might be subconscious. The bottom line is for whatever reason up to 60% of visitors might not even notice banners.

Specific to CPC advertising ad blindess means that users simply don’t even notice your ads. If they don’t notice them they won’t click on them.

Ad Blockers

This is a rising challenge (at least on browsers). Addons or plugins like AdBlock allow users to browse the web with the distraction of advertising. With these plugins active users don’t see your advertising or even that you have advertising at all.

While browsing we have seen on some sites ask users to white list their site for advertising. If you have a trust with your audience and they understand that one way you make income is through advertising this might be a good strategy to try.

Content Curation

CPC advertising and content curation work well together but there are few things to keep in mind especially when using a content curation tool.

First, if you aren’t doing good curation many networks (Adsense being the top one) could possibly flag you for breaking their terms of service.

What is good curation? This is covered in detail in the Curation Mastery Training and the download Content Curation Defined. Here’s the basics.

Have a good lead or intro, cite only a few paragraphs at most of the content and have a good close of usually 4-8 sentences if not more. In addition, ensure you have a strong editorial perspective (your adding value).

Best Placements for CPC Ads

The placement of your ads is one of the most important aspects of correctly monetizing with CPC advertising. This is something you should consistently test to see what works best for your site and your market.

Below we’ve outlined the best ad placement sizing and opportunities for most sites:


Header Ad Placement

The header is a great place to put your advertising. The two traditional sizes of ads that work in this location are:  728×90 and 468×60.

There’s a few reasons for this. First, it’s above the fold. Above the fold means that even if someone just see’s the top of your site they will at least see your ads. There’s another reason why header placement makes sense.  In many site designs the header placement suggested above is unused space within your site.

In Content Right Below Headline

This is another really good place to put your CPC ads. The two traditional sizes that work in this location are: 300×250 and 336×280. Note: in the image above the ad blocks are right aligned but you should test if left aligned ad blocks generate more revenue for your site or niche.

The reason why these placements do well are they are part of the natural flow your site and content. Think about it. The visitor is there to consume your content. So providing they scroll down and want to digest some it’s natural they will see your headline, your lead, and hopefully your advertising.

Sidebar Ad Placement

Placing your CPC ads in the sidebar is a good option as well. With this placement you typically can take advantage of the biggest ad placement 300X600. This allows for a large banner on your sidebar that if showing the right specific ad can convert well. The 2 types of ad sizes that work in this location are: 300×600 and 300×250.

There are some downsides to using the sidebar for your advertising and it’s primarily due to what we mentioned above—ad blindness. People have been trained to ignore certain parts of the sidebar because this has been one of the most popular locations for advertising. How do you solve this?


Here are some of the top networks and resources for CPC advertising:

Ad Networks

  • Google Adsense – Google’s ad network. You make your website ad spaces available by pasting ad code on your site, and choose where you want the ads to appear. Advertisers bid to show in your ad spaces in a real-time auction. The highest paying ad will show on your site. Google Adsense pays monthly.
  • Ad Network – Advertise offers a wide range of CPC solutions and some of them unique: search xml feed, exit traffic monetization, banner ad tags, email cpc ads, and thank you page integration.
  • Chitika – Chitika provides its network of over 350,000 publishers with online monetization solutions for both web and mobile sites. They deliver relevant, search-targeted ads, drawn from an extensive network of quality advertising partners including Yahoo!, SuperPages and Yellowbook (also see plugin down below). Chitika pays monthly.
  • Bidvertiser – Make money from clicks and conversions. You get paid for every visitor that clicks on an ad, and an extra revenue if the click turns into conversion. Our goal is to enable you to make as much as possible from your advertising space, by letting advertisers bid on your ad space. Bidvertiser pays monthly with a minimum of $10.
  • – Webmasters or Bloggers are able to choose the type of advertisements to be shown on your Web site at cost per click (CPC), cost per thousand impressions (CPM), cost per visit (CPV) and cost per interstitial (CPI) earnings metrics. You can earn up to 85% revenue share, depending on the performance the advertisers attain from your Web site placements.
  • Yahoo Advertising – Yahoo advertising offers an array of advertising solutions for a publisher. They are somewhat stringent on the sites and platforms they accept but this is another great option to look into.
  • Disqus –While known as a commenting system it has an interesting additional service that will place a series of recommended stories beneath your comment section. We cover that in a bit more detail in the plugin and tips section down below.

Plugins & Tips

  • Google Publisher Plugin – The official Google plugin for publishers, written by Google. Supported products include AdSense and Webmaster Tools. This is a beta release.
  • Google AdSense Plugin – Google AdSense Plugin allows you to set parameters of the ads displaying, such as format (text ad, image, text with an image or link), size, color of the elements in the ad block, rounded corners and the ad block position on the website.
  • Chitika Plugin – This plugin will automate adding Chitika ads to your blog posts. Chitika Ads will show your blog viewers targeted ads and are compatible with AdSense.
  • Easy Ads – Easy Ads provides a unified and intuitive interface to manage multiple ad providers on your blog. Currently supported are Chitika, BidVertiser, Clicksor, and, of course, AdSense. Very easy to use.
  • Ads Management Platform – You can now manage Easily Text/Html Ads into your website. But also: Youtube/Video Ads, Flash Ads, Adsense Ads.
  • Easy AdSense – Easy AdSense provides a very easy way to generate revenue from your blog using Google AdSense. With its full set of features, Easy AdSense is perhaps the first plugin to give you a complete solution for everything AdSense-related.
  • WordPress Ad-Manager – WordPress Ad-Manager offers you a simple solution to implement advertising into your posts, your blog or any other WordPress page. You can use pictures and images or HTML snippets like Google AdSense to incorporate advertising in an easy way. You are able to select ads via Ad Zones, to re-size them or to limit the height or the width. WordPress Ad-Manager also offers statistics for the site admin.
  • Disqus Comment System – Disqus, pronounced “discuss”, is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community.

In Line Content Short Code Tip

A simple strategy you can employ for placing CPC ads is to use a shortcode in your content. There are plenty of plugins that allow you to create custom shortcodes but the one we like the best is called ShortCoder.

The steps are simple:

  1. Create a shortcode with your advertising code
  2. Put the shortcode in a strategic location in your content that will increase conversions


This works well especially if you have long form content (maybe a post of 900-2000 words). By placing your ads within your content you increase the chances that your visitor won’t skip over the ad and will at least see it and with CPC advertising having your visitor see the ad is half the battle towards monetization.

While this method is the most automated approach taking a little bit of time and effort to place a shortcode in a prime location can go a long way towards driving revenue.

Bonus Tip: Let’s say you’ve curated or written a post that really takes off. You’ve used the Shortcoder plugin mentioned above to create a shortcode. If you find traffic to that post is sticking around and really engaged maybe you might search for an affiliate product or even negotiate with a product owner to put paid banners right in your post. If you have a series of posts that use the same shortcode it’s as easy as replacing the content in the shortcode and it’s updated across all your content.

Disqus Advertising

Another interesting CPC monetization strategy comes from the commenting plugin Disqus. The plugin will put in recommended stories from other sites right below your comment section. You get paid for each time a person clicks on a story.

How your site will look:


The positives here is it’s easy to set up and if you have an engaged audience that will consume your content up to the end and likes to comment you have a high likelihood of converting.

The downside is some of the content might not be to your liking but this will depend on your market, you do have the option to turn off thumbnails but we’ve found content converts better with them on. We’ve also found the payout isn’t the best and suggest that you test this in conjunction with other ad networks mentioned above.

  • Best practices for ad placement & Ad placement policies – Google provides some tips on where to place ads on your site.
  • Beginner’s Guide to Google AdSense for Publishers – A nice long form post that covers Google Adsense from beginning to end. Towards the end of the article it provides some really good advanced advice on monetizing with CPC.
  • The Last Month’s Content “best place to place adsense” – Use this shortcut to see the latest posts and content on placing your ads. While this search is for adsense many of the tips you will find here apply to all forms of web advertising. Note, since these are real time links we have not vetted any the links you see from those search results. So when reading these links ensure the content is from a trusted source and fits the guidelines we’ve discussed so far.

9 Tricks I Used To Triple My AdSense Earnings In 30 Days this article ProBlogger shares with you the tips and tricks they used to triple their AdSense earnings in one month:

1. I Added Units To My Big Websites
2. I Added Units To My Small Websites
3. I Used The Large Units
4. I Placed The Units Above The Fold
5. I Focused On Organic Traffic
6. I Started Using Adsense For Search
7. I Started Using Adsense For Feeds
8. I Played Around With Section Targeting
9. I Tested With Different Colors And Fonts Via

Google Adsense Tips, Tricks, and Secrets this is your first try at building an adsense website, make it about something you enjoy. It will make the process much easier and less painful to accomplish.

You should however make sure that your topic has enough of an ad inventory and the payout is at a level you are comfortable with. You may love medieval folk dancing, but the pool of advertisers for that subject is very small (in fact it’s currently zero). Via

Beyond Banners & Towers: 5 Creative Display Ad Solutions most publishers discuss display advertising as a monetization route, they focus on the standard ad units that we now see just about everywhere online: 728 x 90 leaderboards, 300 x 250 rectangles, and other standard IAB units. While these standard ads account for the bulk of display advertising revenue, there is now much more to this space. Display advertising now goes far beyond banners and towers, with creative publishers embracing new methods for generating revenue.

1. In-Text Links
2. Link Units
3. Search Boxes
4. Email
5. Sponsored Captcha Via